History is a fascinating reality. Like water in a river, it never stays put. It bears witness to change through time although the time frame of change may seem too long for us impatient humans.
 
As the greatest and the most powerful democracy in the world, our country's future as the sole super-power rests squarely on how best we anticipate and navigate this change. In this age of the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter, one cannot but feel that the world is moving at warp speed. This rings true if one were to observe the changes the world has seen in the past 10 years compared to the previous 100 years.
 
One such titanic change taking place at warp speed is in the Middle East. In the deserts of this historic part of the world, democracies are popping up like daisies. In places where dictators took it for granted that their reign was life-long, leaders are being overthrown. Powers accustomed to the status quo are waking up to the reality that the population of the Middle East is no longer the same. It is younger, ambitious, and desirous of the freedoms that exist in our part of the world
 
According to the Gallup study “What a Billion Muslims Really Think?”  that surveyed a sample representing more than 90% of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, Muslims around the world admire the West’s technology and democracy the most.
 
According to the Pew Research Foundation report, “The Future of Global Muslim Population,” 60% of the world’s Muslims are young (in the 0-29 age bracket) and the Muslim population will increase to 2.2 billion by 2030.
 
These statistics are important elements to take into consideration while formulating our foreign policy.
 
Our nation's strength does not lie in its financial or military prowess alone. It lies in the ideals that gave birth to this great nation - the ideals that recognize as inalienable the rights for all humanity - the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. These are universal ideals that indeed were bestowed by God on the Children of Adam. These are the ideals that all major religions, including Islam, teach.
 
The mighty winds of change in the Middle East necessitate that we adjust the sails of our ship. They require us to stay true to our principles. They require us to genuinely and with all sincerity embrace and support all those countries that have embraced democracy. This will ensure that we stick to our strengths and continue to offer leadership to the world.
 
The new democracies in the Middle East give us an exciting set of possibilities and unprecedented opportunities. The rise of Turkey as a democratic regional powerhouse is a welcome development as Turkey offers a brilliant model for the fledgling democracies to emulate.  
 
These developments must bring a breath of fresh air into our anachronistic Middle East foreign policy that is no longer in tune with the realities on the ground. Our relationship with despotic regimes, ungrateful allies, and some of the worst human rights violators weakens our moral standing and puts us in harm’s way.
 
When president Obama gave his famous speech in Cairo, a quarter of humanity waited with bated breath to see those words come into action. President Obama had said, “I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.  Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”  
 
History is beckoning us to act upon these words. The ball is in our court if we want to shape history with our principles or face the possibility of missing the tide of opportunity altogether.

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